Gun buyback nets nearly 400 weapons

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Guns collected during the Guns for Gift Cards exchange at the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station.

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SAN MARCOS, Calif. — Nearly 400 firearms were relinquished Saturday during the Guns for Gift Cards exchange at the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station.

People lined up for the no-questions-asked event as early as 45 minutes before deputies kicked things off at 8 a.m. Those who turned in guns were able to receive up to $200 in Walmart gift cards. Deputies ran out of gift cards by noon.

The event netted 207 handguns, 173 long guns, and two assault rifles. Officials said an AK47-style rifle and a WWII-era Luger were also collected.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department used $25,000 in asset forfeiture funds — money or property seized from criminal activity — to purchase the gift cards. Oceanside and Carlsbad police also chipped in to purchase the gift cards.

Officials said weapons collected Saturday will be checked to ensure they’re not stolen or connected to a crime. If something turns up when the weapons are investigated, they will be turned over to the appropriate authorities. The rest of the guns collected today will be destroyed.

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